Monday, January 11, 2016

Highlights for Education from CES 2016

[Update: videos from each TransformingEDU session are now posted online]

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the TransformingEdu and Kids@Play-and-FamilyTech-Summits held during the Consumer Electronics Show. CES is huge- over 170,000 attendees in three difference convention centers, which makes it over eight times as big as ISTE, the largest conference I had even been to prior to this. I did a lot of walking, totaling more steps per day than the days when I run go for a long run.

I saw a lot of amazing new technologies. At the opening CES keynote Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, summarized the themes of this year's convention: 3D printing, drones, fitness activity trackers, voice and facial recognition software, robotics, and big data analysis. The Internet of Things (IoT) was a big theme and presence, with sensors and switches connected to everything from baby diapers to dog collars to cars. As an educator and parent, it was interesting to hear Gary's statements about how industry needs to continue to push the limits despite some "entrenched incumbents" who resist these changes due to privacy concerns, which made me feel a bit uncomfortable. Ideally, I think it would be better to be able to balance business interests in innovation and profits while being cognizant of privacy concerns.

During the opening keynote of the TransformingEdu and Kids@Play-and-FamilyTech-Summits, David Kleeman, SVP, Global Trends of Dubit, a company that does research and strategy for kids' entertainment brands, gave an interesting overview of the Five Things We're Keeping an Eye On (his slides here). These were virtual reality, tablet saturation, smart tech and artificial intelligence, YouTube as "KidGoogle", and the rise of horror, sci fi, and fantasy themes for kids' entertainment. One point I found especially interesting was a graph of tech skills of toddlers on tablets detailing on average when 0-5 year olds were able to pinch and drag, swipe, install an app, take photos, and more. He mentioned that these skills could be a sign of school readiness or even future struggles. Perhaps this skills may find their they way into early childhood screening in the future? There probably an existing/future app for this.

There were many other speakers I was able to hear, including the CEO of IBM, Ginni-Rometty. She explained how IBM's supercomputer, Watson, was being used to make big data small and stated that the future of iOT will be cognitive: everything that is connected to the Internet will produce data which in turn can be analyzed, whether it is sport stats, air travel, weather, auto safety, or video as some of the examples. She was joined by the CEOs of Under Armour, who is using Watson to find patterns and trends in fitness data to help coach millions of athletes, Medtronic, who is using Watson to predict diabetic attacks hours ahead of time, and SoftBank, who is using Watson to help its human-like robots to learn. Watson was also mentioned at the TransformingEdu conference, both for artificial intelligence capabilities for tutoring and teaching and because some schools and universities are beginning to use it to help with teachers' lesson plans and content (using IBM Bluemix for free).

There were many other speakers which may be a future blog post. Of the 200 photos and videos I took during the conference, here are a few to give you a brief idea of just some of the technologies I saw in the exhibit halls:

Whirlpool's stove/kitchen of the future with projected recipe and more.
Imagine the possibilities for future FACs classes, even science labs.
One of at least two different companies offering Bluetooth toothbrushes with an app for kids.
If there was a hand washing app, we'd be set!
Drones were everywhere, many for hobbies and commercial uses.
Some offered coding options for students, such as Parrot.
I saw one company that helped you buy drone parts and build/market your own,
which seems like a great maker space project.
A working example of a Strand Beast robot with 3D printed parts designed by a student
and powered by a Sphero, which we use in our coding programs. More on that here.
One of many human-like robots on the exhibit hall floor interacting with attendees,
perhaps the 
future line leaders at elementary schools,
lunchroom monitors, or even future teacher aides.
The eating area of Sony's home of the future.
Small projectors were everywhere.
Coming to students' bedrooms and classrooms soon.
Simple switches to add to any(IoT):
a lot of possibilities for classroom supplies, furniture, and more. 
Easton's trainer measuring batting swings.
Data for physical education, math, and science classrooms.
Edible, 3D printed food. School lunch might start to look better.
3D printed cadavers for study.
Probably not the best thing to look at right after lunch.
The IoT includes pet GPS and activity trackers.
Probably soon in kids' backpacks and band instruments... endless possibilities.
Virtual Reality gaming while in a harness on a slippery running surface.
This guy really worked up a sweat and was motivated.
Perhaps a less-violent version of this game will take PE classes to the next level.
Kids' science kits that now will come with VR goggles to extend the learning.
Beds and bidets that measure your health status.
Maybe they will call the school nurse automatically in the future when you're sick?
That would make it difficult for students like Ferris.
A mirror that super-imposes the makeup/hairstyle on your reflection.
Future clothing design and more possibilities for sure.
The much anticipated Faraday Future car.
Getting closer to the Jetsons, but not big enough to replace the school bus... 

And so much more...

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